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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
Scripture Corner…

WAS JESUS A BLASPHEMER?

PART OF OUR LENTEN reflection (Mk. 14:53-65) is on how Jesus was accused as a blasphemer. The innocent, righteous and principled Jesus stands as the main character among the chief priests, the elders, teachers of the Law and false witnesses (Scribes and Pharisees) who assembled in the Sanhedrin in order to falsely and maliciously accuse Jesus who simply and strongly committed himself to fulfilling the will of his Father. Peter, in his human weakness, followed Jesus from a distance with mixed feelings of saving and supporting Jesus, but at the same time, fear trembled him and held him at a distance at Gallicantu just outside Jerusalem City Wall. We may ask ourselves: Are we not part and parcel of that Peter? Where and how do we stand when we are to take crucial decisions at crucial and may be dangerous moments?

Heavy accusation were laid upon against Jesus by the Chief priests, the elders, teachers, Scribes and the Pharisees. Why, why, why? What was behind this serious accusation? Simply because Jesus claimed to be the Son of God? Yes, indeed! But that's not all!! That was simply an official 'crap-surfaced' reason; the real serious business behind it was that of Jesus' denounciation of their hypocrisy (sticking and hiding themselves behind religious rules), their lack of faith and their love for money and power. As the Scripture emphatically states when Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple: "Does not God say in the Scriptures: My house will be called a House of Prayer for all the nations? But you have turned it into a den of thieves." Their anger, hatred and their spirit of revenge now blows out uncontrollably under the mask of the falsely concocted question in the name of blasphemy: "We heard him say, "I will destroy this temple made by human hands, and in three days I will build another not made by human hands."

Initially, Jesus opened not his mouth; he kept quiet! This was very significant for him but also for us today. Jesus' silence at this particular moment expressed that even at this very crucial and brutal moment his approach to violence remained to be non-violence to its core. His non-violent reaction was the most powerful revolutionary disarmament of the armed! The High Priest got confused as well as the chief priests, elders and teachers of the Law; thus, they had to think twice and find a different, crooked way of trapping him.

On the one hand, Jesus' silence was not timidity but rather it was part and parcel of fulfilling the will of his Father. And on the other hand, we see that the moment they touched his nerves, which were inseparably intermingled with the will of His Father - that for them was a blasphemy - there Jesus did not hesitate to respond that, 'He indeed is the Son of the Blessed One.' He is not only the Son of God like a saint, or like one of us, or an envoy of God, but the Only One who shares the divinity of the Father.

In our contemporary world especially during this Lenten Season, we pray for those who are totally blinded, blocked with the heart of stone claiming that they impose violence for the cause of God in the name of God, that their 'god is the god' of violence, the god of human power controlled by a gun, that they may change and transform their radicalised wrong and false image and beliefs of god into the God who is Peace Himself. We also enjoin our prayers for those who are in power that they may be able to promote fair and just structures against oppressive, exploitative and intimidating structures so that our world may be a better place to live.

As Boko Haram members are being dismantled, another form of violence is emerging. The herdsmen are dismantling our peace. Are they Boko Haram in disguise? They value cows more than human beings. Human beings are being dehumanised. The dignity and the sacredness of life, of God's creatures whom He has created in His own image and likeness is totally disrespected. Should the affected retaliate with violence too? This is the moment we are to look at Jesus and find appropriate answer, appropriate reaction to such violence. Non-violence means will surely offer us long term resolution to all that we go through in order to have peaceful country. "Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that" (Martin Luther King, Jnr).

 


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